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December 25th, 2012
09:20 AM ET

Unexpected Christmas gift; sailor shows up to surprise mom for the holiday

On Christmas day, what could be a better gift than to have a son or daughter return from service overseas? And how much more special when it’s a surprise? Texas mom Debbie Giles received that ultimate gift when her son, U.S. Navy Fireman Apprentice Matt Giles, planned the ultimate surprise.

He sent his mom an oversized Christmas card that she was reading aloud to a friend on the phone when Matt came from behind and hugged her. A video of the surprise has gone viral with more than 70 thousand hits online. Mother and son join “Early Start” from Houston this morning to share their story.

“I wasn’t expecting it all,” Debbie says. “It was a total shock.” The happy mom also shares how the experience has been for the family, who hasn't been able to see Matt since March. "We spent last Friday with all of my children and grandchildren. We had our family get-together then. It's been wonderful having Matt home."

Alina Cho asks Matt what wish he would like fulfilled in the new year. "I guess if possible, I would wish my dad could actually stand up on his own. He could walk again," Matt says. "It's a big wish and it probably won't happen but he's made a lot of improvement and for him to improve as much he has from the stroke until now...I'm just so proud to have come home and seen that he's doing so well."

Debbie asks for something similar to her own experience for other armed forces. "If I had one wish, I would wish that all the military personnel can be home with their families through the holiday season."

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Filed under: Christmas • Holidays • U.S. Navy
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Glenn

    Please change hours with Soledad and Erin Burnett, so that Soledad is on in the evenings. Not to hurt Erin Burnett's feelings but Soledad is so much better. Soledad is a journalist and that is what CNN needs in the evening.

    December 25, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse | Reply

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